Grand Junction has created a unique partnership with Garrett and Chelsea River, owner of Goat Vegetation Management farm and his local goat herd to remove noxious weeds throughout the city. The first location goats have begun grazing is along the Colorado River near the Blue Heron Boat Ramp just east of the Redlands Parkway overpass.
“Goats provide a safe way to remove noxious weeks from areas of the City that have become overgrown but are hard to access with mowers and other machinery,” stated Ken Sherbenou, Parks and Recreation director. “The goats are especially useful in locations that border the Colorado River where we cannot utilize chemicals that have the potential to impact water quality.”
Because of their unique digestive systems, goats, unlike many other livestock, can eat invasive weeds without redistributing the seeds in their waste. While grazing, the goat’s hooves also prepare the soil as they fertilize so native grasses and other desirable vegetation can get reestablished. In addition to helping eradicate weeds, the grazing program will help eliminate the risk of wildfires in areas where there are dried weeds and high grasses.
The goats will be contained by electric fencing and managed by a goat herder during the day. The electric fence will not cause serious injury but is designed to keep the goats in and people and other animals out. Signage will remind dog owners to keep pets on a leash for their safety and the safety of the goats. Each evening the goats will return back to the farm for a safe and comfortable night’s sleep. Depending on the size of the area, River can deploy from 50-300 goats to graze areas of overgrowth. The goats will be provided shelter during periods of extreme weather and a source of drinking water for the goats will also be provided.
The trend to use goats for grazing is an approach to farming called regenerative agriculture that focuses on improving and revitalizing soil health. This movement is gaining momentum as an alternative to chemical weed control as well as helping to amend soil for to support the growth of native plants, fruits and vegetables.
Contact: Sara Spaulding, Communications & Engagement Director | 970-985-8180 or firstname.lastname@example.org